Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Amit Bansal
The “flag” feature in Outlook is used to mark email messages in your inbox that you intend to pay attention to in the future. Additionally, flagged emails also appear on the To-do list.
In this article, you will learn the methods for flagging emails in both the classic and new versions of Outlook.
What Does it Mean to Flag an Email?
Flagging an email is a method used in email management to mark specific messages for easy identification and follow-up. When you flag an email, it usually gets a visual marker, like a flag icon, making it stand out in your inbox.
This action doesn’t move or alter the email itself but serves as a reminder or a way to categorize the message as important or requiring action.
The primary purpose of flagging is to help you remember to revisit the email at a later time. It is especially useful in busy inboxes, where important emails can easily get lost among others.
By flagging an email, you ensure it catches your attention, reminding you to read it again, reply, or take specific action as necessary.
How To Flag Outlook Email for Follow-Up?
Whether you’re using the classic version of Outlook or the newer iteration, setting up flags can help you keep track of important messages and ensure you respond to them on time.
However, the process varies slightly between the two versions.
In this brief guide, we’ll walk you through the steps for both, ensuring you can effectively use this feature regardless of which version of Outlook you’re utilizing.
Flag Email in Outlook Classic
Marking a flag on a specific email message from your inbox and shorting in the group is quite interesting.
Here is the step-by-step process:
- Open Microsoft Outlook Classic
- Navigate to the email you wish to flag in your inbox or other folders
- Look for the flag icon typically located in the email header area or right-click on the email to find the flag option, or there is another option.
- Click on the “Home” tab. Then, in the tab section, select “Follow Up.”
- Click Flag logo follow-up.
You can select the flag according to your requirement (Today, tomorrow, this week, next week, no date, Custom), and your selection will remind you for your follow-up.
Flag Email in (New) Outlook
The interface of the new Outlook, which closely resembles the web version, has a slightly different process for flagging email messages compared to the classic version.
Let’s explore how to do this in the New Outlook layout.
- As with New Outlook, begin by opening the email you want to flag.
- Look for the flag icon typically located on the right-side options of every email.
- Another method to flag an email in Outlook involves clicking on the “Home” tab, and then under the “Tag” section, selecting “Flag/Unflag.” This straightforward approach allows you to easily flag the email message as per your needs.
Keyboard Shortcut to Flag Email in Outlook
Outlook offers several keyboard shortcuts to help you flag messages more efficiently. Some key shortcuts for flagging include:
- Fn + Insert: Flag a selected message for follow-up
- CTRL + SHIFT + G: Open the custom flag dialog box
- CTRL + ALT + K: Categorize a selected message
- CTRL + SHIFT + C: Display all categories
Utilizing these shortcuts in combination with the flagging techniques and categorization tips mentioned above can help streamline your Outlook experience and ensure you never lose track of important messages.
Using Right-Click Method
After selecting an email message and right-clicking with your mouse, a menu with multiple options will appear.
One of these options is to flag the email. Simply click on this option to flag the email.
Using this method, you can also flag an email according to your desired timeframe.
Flag Email using Rule Function
While the previously mentioned methods involve manually flagging emails one by one, Outlook’s rule feature offers a more efficient alternative.
This feature automates the process of flagging emails based on the criteria you specify.
Let’s explore this method in a step-by-step manner to understand how you can set up automatic flagging for your emails in Outlook.
First, select the email for which you need to set up a rule. This will ensure that every time you receive an email from the same sender or email address in the future, it will automatically be flagged.
Click on the Home tab >> Click Move and select Rules from the dropdown, you will get four options, and select Create Rule.
That will open the Create Rule dialog box: The three options above are predesigned because of your selected email.
- From “Email Address“
- Subject Contain “XXXX“
- Sent to
Select the checkbox of the first option, the name or email address is already added, because you have selected the email before creating a rule.
Next click on Advanced Option, which will open a series of rules functionality.
#Step 1: ‘Which condition do you want to check‘. The initial option, “name or email address” of the sender, is pre-selected. You can also verify this under the Step 2 section.
#Step 2 ‘What do you want to do with the messages‘: I need to set up flags for messages to follow up at this specific time, so I select that option.
Next Under the Step 2 section: “Flag Messages for Follow Up at this time“, you need to click on the hyperlink and select the flag to and for.
#Step 2 The next step is to consider if there are any exemptions. I usually don’t add any exemptions, but you can choose from the list if you require some.
#Final Rule Setup The process consists of three sections:
- Specify the name of the rule,
- Set up rule options, and
- Review the rule description.
It’s important to handle this task meticulously to prevent any confusion.
Click ‘Finish‘ to complete the setup. From now on, any emails received from that sender will automatically be flagged.
Few Important Points While Flagging Emails in Outlook
Here are some important points to consider when flagging an email in Outlook:
- Choose the Right Email: Before flagging, ensure you’ve selected the correct email. This helps in organizing and prioritizing your tasks effectively.
- Set a Specific Timeframe: When flagging an email, it’s beneficial to set a specific start and due date if your schedule requires precise time management. This aids in keeping track of deadlines and commitments.
- Utilize Flag Categories Wisely: Outlook offers various flag categories. Choose one that best suits the nature and urgency of the email. This categorization helps in better email management.
- Avoid Over-Flagging: Be cautious not to flag too many emails, as this can lead to clutter and make it difficult to discern which emails are of the highest priority.
- Regular Review of Flagged Emails: Periodically review your flagged emails. This ensures that no important email is overlooked and that your follow-up actions are timely.
- Don’t Ignore Flagged Emails: Once an email is flagged, make sure to address it. Ignoring flagged emails defeats the purpose of flagging and can lead to missed opportunities or deadlines.
- Use Flags in Conjunction with Folders: For better organization, use flags in conjunction with folders. This helps in categorizing emails more effectively and keeping your inbox organized.
Advanced Flagging Techniques and Tips
Flagging for Recipients
Sometimes you may want to flag an email not only for yourself but also for the recipients.
To do this, while composing an email in Outlook, click on the Follow Up button on the top toolbar and select Flag for Recipients.
This will add a flag to the email you are sending, reminding both you and your recipients to follow up on it later.
Using Categories and Color Coding
Organizing your flagged messages can become much easier with the help of categories and color coding.
To assign a category to a flagged message, right-click the message in your message list, then choose Categorize and select a category.
Categories can be customized with different names and colors, making it simple to visually prioritize your tasks.
To edit the category titles or colors, click the Categorize button in the Home tab and choose All Categories.